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Re: The issue of Context [was - Re: [ontolog-forum] file comments -- re

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Adam Pease <adampease@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 11:41:49 -0800
Message-id: <>
   I agree that context is important.  But there's no agreed on solution 
for it, and we're not going to solve it here.  I'd venture to say we don't 
collectively have the background to even address the topic 
intelligently.  People have made careers out of working on this 
topic.  Most folks here don't even have a background in formal logic.  This 
is another topic, like so many others, that can only distract us from the 
practical task at hand, that doesn't need content in order to make concrete 
progress.    (01)

Adam    (02)

At 10:53 AM 2/23/2004 -0800, Peter Yim wrote:
> >    What point of Adam's did you agree with?  Could you put it
> > in your own words?
>I agree with Adam that "physical" and "abstract" are exhaustive under 
>"entity" as represented in SUMO now. I also agree that "context" 
>constitutes a whole separate area that is being studied and pursued.
>I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing whether "context" belongs in SUMO. I 
>am, however, of the opinion that "whether or not" or "how" context fits 
>into a KIF based ontology (or into SUMO, in our case) is beyond the scope 
>of the ontolog-forum (and should belong to a SUMO-forum or SUO-forum 
>wherever they are.)
>I am not discounting the importance of the matter, though. In fact I am 
>positive that "context" will be a key area that needs to be addressed if 
>we really want to make a contribution to UBL and to the development of 
>business ontologies (I was among those who brought up the need for a 
>"context" driven example in our suite of use cases).
>I agree then, Pat, that framing it (the need for "context" in our 
>representation) in that context makes sense. Our situation is that:
>Pat suggested one possible solution. Adam disagreed, and cited some 
>relevant work.
>We all want (and need) to move the project forward. May I, then, suggest 
>that we don't pause our current attempt to formalize UBL v1.0, but to 
>start a new thread to discuss on how we want to deal with "context". I am 
>sure the discourse is going to be useful and interesting, but long and 
>drawn out ... Let's just make sure it does not break up our project work.
>I humbly solicit input from those of you who can throw some light onto the 
>matter. Try bringing in people who aren't already in the community to help too.
>Fyi, ... I did a google on "guha mccarthy barwise situation calculus", and 
>it returned 279 hits (guha mccarthy situation calculus). A lot of those 
>hits will make interesting reading to some of us, like myself.
>Regards.  -ppy
>Patrick Cassidy wrote Mon, 23 Feb 2004 01:00:03 -0500:
>>Peter --
>>   I'm a bit unclear as to what you mean by your note:
>>  > Good point, Adam.
>>  >
>>  > May I suggest that discussions specific to Upper Ontology be considered
>>  > as being outside of our scope here. We should, predominantly, be dealing
>>  > in the "business" domian ontology. Is that ok with both of you,
> >  > Pat & Adam?
>>  >
>>  > Discussions like that should probably be done elsewhere, say, for
>>  > example, at the IEEE-SUO list.
>>  >
>>    What point of Adam's did you agree with?  Could you put it
>>in your own words?
>>    The additional content I have been suggesting is in most cases
>>*directly* related to the business Ontology, including the concept of
>>a "Context", which is used within the UBL specification.  More
>>detail will have to be added to "Context" to capture the different
>>types of business context that they feel are relevant.
>>    I will be quite happy to pursue discussions one-on-one
>>with anyone who has any questions, objections, or
>>suggestions for change in anything I have suggested.
>>However, I will simply ignore any suggestions to junk
>>everything and start all over, as Adam has recommended.
>>    I plan to suggest additional content as time permits,
>>and will be happy to discuss specifics about this content
>>in any forum.  I will also make, as I have already, comments
>>and suggestions about what others recommend.
>>    I have bent over backwards to avoid making any changes
>>in the existing SUMO/MILO, focusing on additions, with
>>only a few renamings where there was a logical error
>>(such as the use of "contract" in different senses)
>>or ambiguity was a threat.
>>    I have sent another note explaining why I think that
>>restricting additions of content from members (except
>>for logical inconsistency) is a really really **bad**
>>idea, and why addition of content only peripherally
>>related to the core business concepts can be helpful.
>>Whether or not a suggested business-related concept
>>captures the reality of business practice, or is
>>consistent with the UBL version, are important issues
>>for us.  Discussing whether a peripheral concept happens to
>>be essential at this particular time is likely to be a great
>>time-waster, with no possible objective resolution.
>>    Does anyone have any constructive comments on the
>>business concepts I have suggested?   Anyone?
>>    Pat
>Adam Pease wrote Sat, 21 Feb 2004 08:26:09 -0800:
> > Pat,
> >
> >   In general, while of course it's fair to have new content that is
> > in progress, and only partially defined, you are suggesting very
> > substantial additions at a high level of the ontology.  The
> > standard must be quite different there.  If someone adds a new
> > class JoineryInvoice, and makes it a subclass of Invoice, no harm
> > done.  You have however proposed, among other things, adding a
> > new concept right at the top (under the top node of Entity),
> > called "Context", and then a whole new tree of concepts which
> > include Situation, Event etc.
> >   Now, people spend large parts of their research careers (John
> > McCarthy, Guha etc) working on context logic.  There are yearly
> > conferences on the topic.  Context usually involves a context logic
> > that is not first order.  And yet, you've inserted this notion
> > without definition.  In addition, since the first level concepts
> > of Physical and Abstract already form a partition (are exhaustive),
> > it's not even clear in the most basic sense what "Context" means,
> > nor how it would be used in inference, that in most prior
> > research has involved speculative reasoning facilities that
> > don't even exist yet.
> >   From there the problem just gets worse since you seem to be
> > proposing a whole new scheme for representing situations for SUMO.
> > Again, this is an area that has received a vast amount of research
> > effort, and you've provided only a taxonomy.  New content at this
> > level simply has to be justified with axioms even to be a coherent
> > proposal.  Otherwise we don't have any basis for a coherent
> > discussion about its merits.
> >
> > Adam
> > At 12:56 AM 2/21/2004 -0500, Patrick Cassidy wrote:
> >
> >> Adam -
> >>   Thanks for your comment.  Since the issues you discuss
> >> are relevant to much of the work we will be doing, I am
> >> sending this reply to the whole Ontolog group. The bottom
> >> line of this message is that I think we need to vote
> >> on the issue, so I hope all Ontolog members will
> >> slog through this and provide their own feedback. ...[snip]...
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